Title: Black John
Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: Gomez Pugh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 10 Hours, 39 Minutes
At a glance: Amy Lane weaves a tapestry, a multicolored masterpiece where there is hope for the damaged.
Reviewed By: Amy
Blurb: John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible – and left John to clean up his mess.
Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John’s craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory’s neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen’s been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory’s life.
The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative – and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.
Review: Bear with me as this is my first review; therefore, I am going to do a bit of a two parter. The book itself and Pugh’s performance. One word for this book is Superb! I have been a fan of the Johnnies books since the beginning. One of Amy’s many talents when writing books is her originality. In a series that easily could have become cookie cutter, Amy takes it to places you wouldn’t expect, while still giving you what you want the most. I have been waiting with anticipation for Amy’s book about John for a while. Throughout the Johnnies series, he is there as the figurehead and leader of this emotionally broken group of young men.
Black John is done in two parts. John starts out in rehab, explaining his descent into addiction, which we definitely grasp in Dex in Blue. After receiving a letter from his estranged family about the suicide of the one love he lost, Tory, John has to fly to Florida to handle Tory’s death and funeral arrangements, fresh out of Rehab. John goes to Tory’s shitty apartment and cleans up after a man who was so deep in addiction he couldn’t find his way out. Galen is the next door neighbor, and oh, how I adore this flawed, lost, broken soul. He is at his rock bottom when he meets John, and an unlikely friendship spawns out of this awful event. The first half of this book is going down memory lane and seeing the life John lead, and why he is who he is. I typically have a hard time with flashback-heavy books, but as only Amy Lane always does, she makes the flashbacks flawless.
The second part of this book is the love story between Galen and John. This part takes place in Florida, as these two build their relationship.You travel through Galen’s rehab and John trying to integrate back into life in California as these two characters strive to create a life they can live together. I felt every single step forward and back John and Galen take.
Amy Lane weaves a tapestry, a multicolored masterpiece where there is hope for the damaged. She shows you that although love doesn’t conquer all, if you discover love, it can inspire you to be a better you.
Narrator: Being around the Audiobook world for awhile makes you aware of the different narrators, and whom you tend to prefer. I had the pleasure of listening to all of the Johnnies books on audio, which had been narrated by Sean Crisden. When I saw that Gomez Pugh was narrating the fourth Johnnies book, I was a little nervous the change would affect my opinion of this book negatively. I now can say that it absolutely didn’t affect my opinion. I was extremely surprised by how well Gomez Pugh did with this book. I had previously listened to Gomez, and thought he did a good job but didn’t seek him out when looking at Audiobooks. I can tell you I feel this was his best work by far. The majority of this book was John and Galen talking or John talking to Tory. The only thing that bothered me a bit was that he did Dex’s voice like a surfer, and Dex definitely isn’t a surfer. He did extreme accents for Tommy and Kane as well. Outside of these small problems, I feel that Pugh’s performance was stellar. He had me actively engaged and excited to get back into the car every day.
You can buy Black John here: